Nearly five years after the Blues drafted him, Jordan Schmaltz will make his NHL debut in Colorado.
It’ll be five years in June since the St. Louis Blues made defenseman Jordan Schmaltz their first selection (pick No. 25 overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft. After three subsequent seasons at the University of North Dakota, 113 games in the AHL, and two call-ups to the NHL without an appearance in a game, Schmaltz will finally make his NHL debut on Sunday night as the Blues take on the Colorado Avalanche, looking to snap a five-game losing streak.
Schmaltz, who was recalled on Wednesday to fill Kevin Shattenkirk‘s spot on the roster after the former All-Star was traded on Monday, will quickly help fill some of Shattenkirk’s responsibilities. With Alex Pietrangelo having moved up to the top power play unit to replace Shattenkirk, Schmaltz will get time with the Blues’ second power play group.
Schmaltz will bump Robert Bortuzzo from the lineup. Bortuzzo has played in 25 games this season, frequently rotating with Carl Gunnarsson, so it’s not exactly a crushing blow for him to be removed from the lineup.
It’ll be interesting to see if Schmaltz can quickly make an offensive impact from the blueline Though lefthanded-shooting defenseman Vince Dunn may become the Blues’ most skilled offensive defenseman in the long term, Schmaltz seems to be the player who’s currently best equipped to replace Shattenkirk as an effective puck distributor and power play specialist.